Social media marketing has, over the past few years, gone from something practiced by a few early adopters to a crucial part of most big advertising campaigns. For proof of that, you only have to look at the results of a recent Gartner survey, which showed that most people now see social as being nearly as important as a corporate website and more traditional forms of online advertising.
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It makes sense too. Research from eMarketer suggests that brands can profit dramatically from a well-executed social campaign and a 2012 study by research company Millward-Brown showed that there was a direct correlation between how successful a company is and how well it uses social media.
With that kind of spend comes serious incentive for innovation and The Bees Awards, a San Francisco-based award for the best use of social media, now in its fourth iteration aims to recognise the best examples of social media innovation.
The awards have just announced the nominees for the 2013 edition. While there is still a strong US presence, emerging market countries such as Brazil, Russia and China are increasingly evident among the nominees.
Among the more interesting campaigns from those nominees is one called “You are Blind” from the Hungry Boys agency in Russia, which aims to change the treatment of blind children by giving people insight into what they go through. The primary way of doing this was with a website that challenged people to navigate a character through a virtual city using only sound.
But the campaigns aren’t all hard-hitting and serious. For instance, one of the most popular campaigns this year, and a strong contender in the viral video category, is Bubba’s Hover from US agency Thinkmodo, which saw top golfer Bubba Watson riding around in a hovercraft modified to function as a golf cart.
The winners will be announced on 31 May. The full list of nominees follows below.